The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have their third straight pitching mismatch, at least on paper, as they finish their 3-game set on Thursday night.
First pitch from venerable Fenway Park will be at 7:10 p.m. (ET). The Don Best odds screen will release the figures shortly.
Boston (82-52) and New York (81-52) are fighting for the AL East title, with the loser almost definitely getting the wild card. The Red Sox have a half-game lead, with the winner likely facing Detroit in the opening round instead of Texas, a favorable scenario.
The Yanks won 5-2 as 136 road betting favorites in Tuesday’s opener behind ace CC Sabathia. He allowed 10 hits, but just the two runs over six innings. He got the win after going 0-4 in his first four Boston starts this year.
New York is still just 3-10 against Boston this season, 3-4 at Fenway. The Bronx Bombers have strangely lost all six home meetings.
The Wednesday night game is still pending and had Josh Beckett going against Phil Hughes. Beckett was sporting a 1.95 home ERA heading in, with his team 9-2 in his Fenway starts. Boston was a 160 favorite with a total of nine runs.
Boston’s co-ace Jon Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA) is pitching on Thursday. He’s 3-0 in his last three starts, allowing exactly one run each time and pitching 19 total innings (1.42 ERA). Two of them were at home against Oakland and Tampa Bay.
The 27-year-old left-hander has a higher ERA (3.44) at home than away (2.84). However, that’s mostly due to a couple of bad starts in May. The ‘under’ is 5-1 in Lester’s last six home starts (2.23 ERA).
Lester is 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts against New York this year. The one at home was August 5, allowing three earned runs over six innings in a 3-2 loss. Boston had won his prior five Yankees starts.
New York is 28-13 against a lefty starter this year and 13-5 in its last 18 road games versus a southpaw.
A.J. Burnett (9-11, 5.31 ERA) will pitch for the visitors, much to the dismay of Yanks fans. His ERA has ballooned his last two starts at Minnesota and Baltimore, 16 earned runs over a combined 6 2/3 innings. He had an 11.91 ERA in five August outings overall.
The 34-year-old right-hander is trying to avoid being left off the playoff roster. Going to Fenway where he has a 10.61 ERA in six starts since joining New York likely won’t help matters.
His one start against Boston this year was at home, seven earned runs over 5 2/3 innings in June (11-6 loss).
Burnett has a 6.85 road ERA this year. The ‘over’ is 5-0-1 in his last six road starts. New York is 1-9 in his last 10 road starts against a team with a winning record.
Boston is just 9-9 at home in its last 18 games. The ‘under’ is 6-2 in its last eight at home, scoring just 3.5 runs per game.
New York has won three straight games (all away) and is 13-6 in its last 19 road games.
Boston is still missing slugger Kevin Youkilis (back injury), who could return Friday. New York’s Alex Rodriguez (thumb) was out Tuesday and likely the series. Catcher Russell Martin (toe) was questionable for Wednesday.
Alfonso Marquez will call balls and strikes. Neither team has fared well recently with him behind home plate. Boston is 2-6 in the last eight and New York 1-6 in the last seven.
Weather should be clear and in the 60s. Boston will start another big home series Friday against Texas. New York will return home against Toronto.